As the passenger of a car accident, you are usually not held liable for the car crash. You may have an easier case than a driver or another type of personal injury litigant. Generally, as a passenger, you do not need to prove any liability when filing a claim. This makes it easier to file the legal documents, and to receive compensation.
Dealing with injury claims and accidents can get overwhelming and confusing. As a lawyer who wants to help those involved in car injuries, I am here to help. Check out the information below to learn more about filing a claim, as a passenger in a car accident.
Filing the Claim
Filing a passenger injury claim essentially involves a similar method to filing any other type of car accident claim. The only difference is that as a passenger, you have the ability to make the claim against both of the drivers, if the accident involved two vehicles.
It is important that you get insurance details from both of the drivers, and file the claim against each driver’s insurance company. Yet, there are exceptions. For example, if the accident gained no-fault status, you should go ahead and file a Personal Injury Protection (PIP), or no fault claim against the driver, relative to your medical bills and lost earnings.
Multiple Passenger Injury Claim
One potential issue with passenger injury cases is when you are not the only passenger. Say you are involved in a car accident, with two other passengers. If all three of you file against the negligent driver, it may exceed the amount that his insurance can cover. This poses an issue, as each injured individual will need to settle for less than what the case is qualified for.
In this case, what this means for you is that you must take money out of your pockets to compensate for what the driver’s insurance cannot cover. All three passengers may also not agree on a specific amount that each one receives, and the driver himself may even file a suit to settle this matter.
If in a rare case, you as the passenger are partly at fault for the accident, your recovery can be lowered by the proportionate share of blame that you had in the accident. Say your damages as a passenger total $50,000, and you were found to be at fault by 10 percent. The maximum recovery you may receive would be forty-five thousand dollars. You must cover the 10 percent of the accident that was your fault.
This specific example is dependent on the state you are living in, though most states maintain the same criteria. Other states may follow different procedures where no compensation is given to anyone who was even remotely liable for the incident.
New Jersey is a comparative negligence state. That means that you can still recover compensation even if the accident was partially your fault. If you are a passenger who was injured in a car accident, you may want to discuss your legal rights with an experienced lawyer. Contact us today to get help.